Creative Destruction, a Close Shave and Social Media

Yes, you can compete with large, established competitors if you’re a small company or start up.

Yes, you can use a more human approach to attract attention to your sales messages.

Yes, social media works. (Despite being a B2C example, this story holds lessons for all marketers).

Dollar Shave Club (a start up) is proof of all three – its YouTube video attracted 12,000 customers within its first 48 hours online.

How?

With a very human and humorous approach that address a pain point in the market: the high cost of razors.

Dollar Shave has a solid business premise:

  • Basic razors at low prices.  As Michael Dubin, founder and chief executive, points out in the video, do you really need the latest razor with a vibrating handle?  Because the only way the big players can increase price is by adding features, they keep adding them.
  • A new way to sell a consumable — by monthly subscription, delivered by mail.

 

The company tells a story in a very human, personal way.  The founder just plain tells it like it is:

… In simple language (likely not professionally scripted)

… With passion

… With personality and humor (btw, the CEO was trained in improv comedy)

Viewers can relate!  For the same reason people like Super Bowl commercials – they’re creative, and fun to watch.

Taking a cue from zappos.com, diapers.com, and now even soap.com, Dollar Shave is giving consumers a new and attractive option.  It saves them money.  It’s more convenient.

Investors are noticing – willing to fund companies that are shaking things up.  And so are the traditional media.  The story has been covered in Fast Company, Forbes, Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, and more.

And big competitors?  They seem to have no fear of “just another low-cost provider.”  With views to its video at 4 million and counting, perhaps they should.

And one more lesson for B2B marketers: with social media, you don’t need a huge marketing budget to build a following.

Pointing again to the crucial nature of YOUR MESSAGE –not just its guts, but how it’s presented.

And, pointing to the opportunity represented when you can find a hole in a staid, competitive market.  Consider your own industry.  Can you find a new option for designing, packaging or delivering your product or service?

Creative destruction like this can happen in the B2B world.  If you’re looking for new or better ways to compete, or an impetus for making your marketing more creative, make this story the basis for a team brainstorm, and let the ideas flow.

Google Search Changes and the Importance of Content

Continuing our recent discussion about ensuring your company’s visibility in Google searches: at the end of April, Google made changes to its search algorithm – and those changes are affecting many websites, but both positively and negatively.

Fortunately, Google provides ongoing tips in its Webmaster Central blog to help companies put forth “the best user experience” – especially useful for those who can’t invest in regular, professional oversight of their websites (Google makes an estimated 500 changes annually to its search algorithm to combat those attempting to ‘trick’ the search engine into giving their sites higher organic rankings, via keyword stuffing, paying for links, and an assortment of other shady practices).

Google: “Focus on Building Useful Sites with Compelling Content”

The algorithm change is further reinforcement for the advice B2B marketing and PR firms like ours have been hammering home with clients for a while now: the gains that can be made by generating and sharing content.

Content on your site should be useful and educational versus commercial.

Content should be fresh and original, and, generated and posted continuously.

Blogs are one of the most expedient ways to keep website content fresh, given that much of the content on most sites is evergreen (for a reason).

Original content enhances your organic rankings – but that’s not the only reason to create it.  The same information you develop for your site surely has multiple other uses – for existing customers, as sales support material, as the basis for a webinar, published article or white paper, or e-mail blast, etc.

To keep your site ranked as high as possible, Google offers these further tips:

  •  Keep track of algorithm changes on the Webmaster Central blog.
  •  Make sure you’re aware of your top keywords and keyword phrases – how people search for your product or service – and how these may change over time.

 

If you’ve never generated a list of potential keywords and run a traffic report, do so.  Now! Google makes this relatively easy to do yourself with its traffic tool.  And make a point to rerun the report at least quarterly, to stay abreast of and leverage those search terms in your online marketing.

Knowledge of keywords can be incorporated back into your standing site content (content optimization being one step of the SEO process) and can be a springboard for new marketing ideas.

While you’re at it, set up a Google Alerts for your key terms, seek and follow the online conversation and get involved in pertinent blogs, forums, etc.

Doing so will set you up for interaction with members of your industry and prospective customers — those people searching for and talking about your area of expertise.

  • Use social media.  Share links to your site content on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, SlideShare, etc.  Get professional help to at least get you started on these platforms (if you’re not there already).  Learn how other B2B companies are using social media.
  • Google advises companies to go beyond the search engine requirements and drive traffic to your site in other ways, such as through ads special promotions and the like.  Many B2B companies have no trouble with this tip – but may not be using “drive site traffic” as a clear objective.

 

With so many tools available at the touch of a button, there’s no reason your company can’t step up its online visibility even in small increments.

Abana1pc

SEO Secret: Use Paid Search Ads When Full SEO is Out of Reach

It’s no secret that performing search engine optimization (SEO) for a website is a significant investment when done professionally and thoroughly.

Aside from the cost, the sheer number of tasks involved in SEO — keyword research, content optimization, formulating page titles and meta-tags, starting a blog, tweeting, adding links and more – can seem overwhelming.

Still, every company wants their websites to be visible on the first few pages of relevant searches.

There is, however, a far less costly alternative to SEO: paid search ads.

These can accomplish the goal of creating visibility on page one (an achievement that even full SEO can’t guarantee) at less cost, and in less time – with very positive results. 

Yes, it’s “advertising.”  So, no, it’s not as good as being on page one through organic ranking.  But paid ads DO get attention.

Paid search is a viable option that offers 100% control: you decide your budget (as low or high as you like), you change the content of the ad whenever you like, you pay only for clicks, and you can immediately see the results of your ads.  If they’re not pulling in the kinds of leads that you want, you can stop the campaign at any time.

We have had success with several clients who spent as little as $200 to $300 monthly on the campaigns.

Ads can be designed to support almost any marketing endeavor (such as driving traffic to your website or a special landing page featuring one of your products or services, to building awareness of a special promotion, to reach more people with your content).  If the ads are well thought out and well-written, you will get clicks. 

Make Your Ads “Smart”

Content is king in all sorts of marketing outreach, and it’s no different for paid search ads.

The limitation on Google ads is that you have only about 30 characters and three lines of text to get your message across.  How will you make your ad stand out?  Content.

I call ads that link to useful content for the prospect “Smart” ads. Rather than creating a set (five- seven typical for any program) of plain-vanilla ads that are straightforward, bland or just try to expose your message, instead exploit and tie your ad to educational content – direct them to download something that’s useful.

You could for example:

  • Destroy common myths about your product or service
  • Provide information or tips about selecting your product or service
  • Help them compare between competitive offerings
  • Answer questions or common sales objections
  • Share your company’s perspective about an industry issue or problem

 

Your educational content needn’t be long.  White papers make perfect downloads – but here again, some companies may not have any readily available. The alternative is a single landing page on your website (or a downloadable written document) that contains the educational information you have convey.

It makes sense to be where your customers are searching – online.  If your company is not already highly visible, paid ads are worth at least a test run, serving a supporting or even starring role in your ongoing marketing efforts.